Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
Diunna Greenleaf - Vocals Anson Funderburgh, Bob Margolin, Smokin' Joe Kubek Josh Preslar, Chris James, John Del Toro Richardson - Guitars John Rapp - Slide Guitar Rich Del Grosso - Mandolin Bob Corritore, Billy Branch - Harmonica John Street - Hammond B3 Organ, Piano Ron Jones - Saxophone Mookie Brill, Johnny Bradley, Patrick Rynn, Josh Preslar - Bass Chuck Cotton, Wes Starr, Vernon Daniels - Drums Diunna Greenleaf is without a doubt one of our modern day blues divas who keeps on writing and producing contributions to the genre while preserving the legacy of its rich and complex history. Her fusion of gospel and soul with classic blues riffs and shuffles consistently meets the expectations of her audience and are generally a pleasure to just sit back, listen to, and enjoy the eight originals, out of twelve total songs on her latest release, Trying To Hold On. Appropriately, “Be For Me” is track one. You wanted Diunna? Well I certainly got it out of the gate. An endearing story is well told with simple and relevant playing. Bob Corritore on harmonica in the solo and throughout the song accompanied by Bob Margolin (guitar on four other tracks on the project), Chuck Cotton on drums (also four other tracks), and a favorite of many, Mookie Brill on upright bass.
Producer and engineer Corritore and Clarke Rigsby use a more stripped-down and organic style on track one and five others in an open hall sound, keeping the gritty buzz and funky stank on thangs at their digs in Tempe, Arizona. “Sunny Day Friends” is one I like because, if I had my way, I’d put horns, B3, and, not present here, strings on everything. One can clearly hear a distinction between the different rooms and production approaches between this second track and the two others that were recorded in Houston, Texas, by Anson Funderburgh and Paul Osbourne, who take a conventional recording approach. “The Beautiful Hat” and two other tracks were recorded in Houston with Diunna producing and were engineered and mixed by Sinclair Ridley and Clarke Rigsby.
Rich Del Grosso brings the folky and fabulous contribution of mandolin that so many forget is historic and prevalent in the art form. These recordings sound multitracked.
The rogue studio on the album located in Salina, Kansas, where the tenth track, “Double Dealing,” was recorded and produced by Chad Kassem, bringing us straight-up, no-nonsense, three-piece blues that works anywhere and everywhere. I must identify the original cassette recording of Diunna’s 102-year-old grandmother Sylvie Travis singing the spiritual “He is Everything To Me.” She is a true inspiration and a bridge for our music generation. Blues of many styles but, still all blues!!! ~~ by Blues Revue.